Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Sizzling times at Cape Town's hottest hangout

Click to play
Meeting at Mzoli's
  • Mzoli's Meat is one of the hippest hangouts in Cape Town, South Africa
  • A butchery and open-air barbeque, it was a hit with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver
  • Live music and DJs bring a diverse crowd of locals and tourists

Cape Town, South Africa (CNN) -- For Cape Town's carnivores, Mzoli's Meat is the city's hippest hangout. The informal butchery and barbeque joint is a place where social and racial barriers are set aside as locals and out-of-towners come together to eat, drink and party.

Even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is a fan, recently describing Mzoli's as "sexy" and praising the "incredible flavor" of its grilled meat.

Also known as Kwa-Mzoli, Mzoli's Place or Mzoli's Butchery, Mzoli's is a meeting place that brings together people from all walks of life. It was opened in 2003 in Gugulethu, a township 15 km from the center of Cape Town, South Africa, when owner Mzoli Ngcawuzele saw a gap in the market.

"We looked at what was missing in the market, especially in our community and we began to say, 'what can really bring people from all walks of life together?' And we came up with this -- Mzoli's," Ngcawuzele told CNN.

Gallery: Mzoli's

"You choose your meat, we grill it for you, you've got a table to sit at, and we serve you."

South African winemaker's vintage year

At Mzoli's, diners select their meat from the butchery and then take it to one of the surrounding stalls, where it is grilled over charcoal fires. The locals call it a "braai," the Afrikaans word for barbecue, and a South African specialty.

But Mzoli's attracts a clientele hungry for more than just braai. Live music, and DJs playing kwaito and house music draw a diverse crowd, including white South Africans who might not normally make the journey into the black township.

Ngcawuzele told CNN, "We said, 'this is the rainbow nation, how do we manage to bring the rainbow nation together into one spot, where white, black, colored, everyone gets together over a piece of meat?'

"We get a lot of tourists, a lot of the local community, the white community, the colored community. They just come from all walks of life.

"I can tell you now, the racial tensions of the past, that is the past. Today we're moving forward, looking forward from generation to generation.

"Everybody is welcome. It's safe, people are walking the streets, the doors are wide open in the neighborhood here. We're taking care of each and every individual who comes here."

Mark Tutton contributed to this report